It is very easy to be cynical about the Hodinkification (Hodinkee-fication?) of our passion over the last decade, though just what that means is not well defined. Is that definition hype? Convergent tastes? Blasé mentions of MSRPs over triple the median yearly income of the US? Always matching your cardigan to your chronograph hand? Just to what extent are these attitudes are the result of the big H or enthusiasts coming together online through methods better than ever before? For all the easy low punches, Hodinkee has contributed much to the wider community for which I am grateful. Amongst many of their more noble efforts such as the Reference Points or Watch of the Week series, I must credit their disproportionate role in popularizing Grand Seiko, infatuating the West with GS’s fastidious approach to watchmaking. Similarly, big H product collaborations often bear delicious fruit. These two notable efforts coalesce in this GMT, a practical offering with a dial so blue one could drown in it.
This release builds on the crowd-pleasing SBGM221, Grand Seiko’s only GMT model previously to incorporate the 24-hour scale on its dial rather than around the rehaut or on an external bezel. The solution shined for its legibility and elegance. Hodinkee recognized the simple genius of this traveller and, thankfully, treaded lightly. The only changes they saw fit to alter were the dial, handset, and bracelet. 39.5mm Zaratsu steel case (with a huge wrap under), 9S66 auto with 72-hour reserve, and unobstructed sapphire back remain. The release was limited to 500 examples.
There is always a story behind a Grand Seiko tone, and this dial is no different. It was bestowed the moniker ‘Yūgure’, meaning dusk or twilight. Everything else in this watch appears a supporting element to make that tone dance. The previously blued steel elements have been executed here in a matte grey, as is the 24-hour scale: a camouflaged but present accent tone. If you look closely, you will also note that Hodinkee added a serif font to the 24-hour scale which was not present previously. This is also the first SBGM to be sold on a bracelet, a more sporting three-link no less. The model was relatively well-received, going so far as to hammer well above retail in a Phillips auction the year of its release. It is often said that the person who learns the most from a lecture is the professor. This release demonstrated that Hodinkee listen, and know precisely how to create a damn attractive watch.
This example sports minimal surface wear visible on the case, bracelet, or crystal. The dial is unmarred, as it should be at only a year or two old. No mention is made in ad of what case number this LE is, as the series of 500 were individually numbered. It comes with a full set from a private collector.
Find this SBGM239 here on eBay as a no reserve auction.